“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

Blue-Princess-300x225New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, turning garden gnomes into mad scientists, and ranting on YouTube about fairy tales.

Her YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012, was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, Hero, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award. Her latest novel in the Woodcutter Sisters series, Dearest, will be released on February 3rd, 2015.

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea currently lives and writes in Florida, on the Space Coast. She makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie. You can find Princess Alethea online at: www.aletheakontis.com / @AletheaKontis

Why did you want to write Enchanted (the Woodcutter Sisters books)? (Btw I’m SO glad you did!)
There are a couple of ways to answer this question.

1.) I have always loved fairy tales. ALWAYS. I grew up with them. Not the Disney Princesses (we didn’t own a VHS until sometime in the mid-80s), but the actual, honest-to-goodness-and-badness fairy tales by Grimm and Andersen and Lang and Carroll and all the ones in between. Sometime around the age of 11, I was bored and asked my mother what to write. She said, “Go write me a new fairy tale.” And I haven’t stopped since.

paperback cover2.) I promised myself I would write the novel when the story got out of hand. The story was called “Sunday,” and I originally wrote it as a challenge for the Codex Writers Group. (The challenge was not, as many believe, to cram as many fairy tales in to one story as possible–I challenged MYSELF to do that.) As the story blossomed in my head, the world just kept getting bigger and bigger…until finally I made myself a deal. I told myself that it would be okay to edit out the more in-depth parts so that I could complete the story for the challenge, just as long as I wrote the novel afterwards. The “short” story was 10,000 words long and took third place in the contest. It was later published in Realms of Fantasy magazine. Six years later, Enchanted was released.

So which Woodcutter Sister is closest to you?
In a way, they are all me. Sunday is me as a writer and an introvert and a girl who just wants a boy to love her. Saturday is me as a tomboy…I refused to wear skirts until I was 30. Friday is me as a fairy godmother…I swear I fall in love with everyone I meet. Thursday is me as Queen of the World, who seizes her own adventures and knows exactly how to get along with Mama. Wednesday is the poet in me…poetry was my first love, and I wrote mostly poetry until I got serious about novels. Tuesday is the artist in me, and the person who grieves the most when I am kicked in the teeth by the Universe. Monday is me as the big sister, the one who won’t think twice before stepping in to save the world, at any cost.

First time you saw one of your books in a bookshop, what did you do?
I think the first book to physically come out with my name on the cover was Elemental, the science fiction & fantasy benefit anthology I edited. My first bookstore signing was at Forbidden Planet in London. So to say I was on Cloud Nine is the ultimate understatement…and I’ve been trying to get back to London ever since!

You’ve probably been asked this before but what’s your favorite fairy tale and what’s the one you hate? Why?
My favorite fairy tale is “The Goose Girl.” I love that the princess’s mother is a sorceress, I love that she has a horse that talks beyond death, I love Conrad the nosy goose boy, I love the clever King, and I even love the evil maid and how she names her own retribution.

The one I always liked the least was “Snow White.” She was such a passive wimp that the end of the fairy tale (the red hot iron shoes) didn’t fit her character. It just never made sense to me. So I fixed it. It’s called “The Unicorn Hunter.” <grin>

If you could, what would you want to ask your readers?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?

Lol…seriously, I have no idea. I’d probably ask what their favorite fairy tale is. Bruno Bettleheim said that your favorite fairy tale tells a lot about who you are as a person. I don’t know WHAT it says, exactly. But I still find it fascinating. Like tarot cards.

Luna: *gulp* mine is Allerleirauh – not sure if I should be worried now.

17155793Continuing on the fairy tale theme, what would you do with three wishes?

  • I would wish for power over gravity.
  • I would wish for everyone in the world to have an injection of self-confidence and a good night’s sleep (which I maintain is how we will achieve World Peace).
  • I would wish for the genie to be free of the bottle.

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I ate two dates today. I love dates.

What’s the perfect cure to a bad day?
Watching a Jane Austen movie…or some similar period drama.

I’m giving you a free platform to talk about anything – GO:
Buy my small press books! Beauty & Dynamite and Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming are my two small press books, and I really need help spreading the word about them! B&D is a memoir…blogs and essays from when I started out as a Baby Writer in the Big World of Science Fiction & Fantasy…and boy did I have some adventures! Ever wondered if magic existed in real life? Well, it does in mine.

WWDD is a collection of my non-fairy tale short stories that I put together at the request of my friend JT Ellison, because she thought they needed to be out in the world. So there they are! Please check them out and share the love!

What happens next?
I am working on a secret project that I can’t tell you about or I’d have to kill everyone…and then who would be around to buy my books? So keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, while I’m staying with my parents, I’m trying to convince my dad to be a guest on Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Rants. I think he’d make a great Big Bad Wolf, don’t you?

 

Quickfire Round

Tea or coffee?
Tea. Preferably something black and citrusy, or Constant Comment, if I’m with Leanna Renee Hieber.

What word describes you best?
Effervescent

Do you ever re-arrange book displays in bookshops?
Not anymore. I’ve worked in too many bookshops.

One thing you couldn’t write without?
My mind

The last book you read?
Jude Deveraux’s FOR ALL TIME

Favorite fairy tale retelling (be it book, movie or TV)?
The Tenth Kingdom (TV miniseries)

 

When no one is watching do you dance?
Oh, hells yes. Every day.

Biggest highlight since being published?
Winning the Gelett Burgess Award for Enchanted. Gelett Burgess (The Goops) was one of my favorite authors as a kid, and I didn’t even know that award existed until I won it. I still can’t believe it.

Please can you come to the UK? *puppy eyes*
Forbidden Planet wants me as soon as I can come back! And my friend Mary just moved there and I’ve promised to visit…so look for me maybe next summer? I CAN’T WAIT. I miss England. I have history with that country. (But you have to read Beauty & Dynamite to find out how…)

And finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
I have had people ask me (though infrequently) about Charlie, the teddy bear I always mention in my bio. But no one ever asks his real name! I did share it with USA Today, though…you can find that (and a picture of Charlie!) click HERE

Luna: He’s adorable!

You can read my reviews of Alethea’s Woodcutter Sister Series by clicking on the titles below.
Everyone of them is a 5* review because they are amazing. ♥

Enchanted #1
Hero #2
Dearest #3
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cover48943-mediumHow did I get the book?  Netgalley, thank you Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.

Debut author Ami Polonsky’s moving, beautifully-written novel shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

200words (or less) review: I have a rule that I don’t start books late in the evening so I don’t lose out on sleep. I finished reading Gracefully Grayson a few minutes before midnight with tears running down my face. Good books will do that to you. :)

Ami Polonsky has created an absolutely mesmerising voice with Grayson. I sometimes think I use the word ‘love’ to lightly but with Grayson I can truly say I loved her – still love her.

Grayson has successfully isolated herself from those around her. A new student ends up being the trigger for Grayson stepping out of her shell but this in turn means judgement. One of the things that I was impressed with was the insight Ami Polonsky gives you for the other characters; Grayson’s aunt for example and Grayson’s cousin.

I don’t really want to give more away because part of the joy of book is going on the journey with Grayson, through all of it. With the tears there are those moments that make your heart sing.

Gracefully Grayson is a beautiful book – read it.

Recommend it?

Sunshine Star

Expected publication:
November 4th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It’s a chance to show what books you’ve added to your library in the past 7 days. These can be bought books, borrowed, review copies, any which way they come to you.

YALC

An English Boy in New York (Boys Don’t Knit #2) by T.S. Easton
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning (signed)
The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan (signed)
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (signed)

These are the new books, I haven’t included all the ones I took with me to get signed. Also Rachel Hamilton sent me a signed copy of her book.
Doesn’t it sound fun?

20524926

London Haul

Heretic by Sarah Singleton
Rendezvous in Russia (Laura Marlin Mysteries #4) by Lauren St. John
Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt
The Thornthwaite Inheritance by Gareth P. Jones

From StorytellersInc

20798217

Saving Sophia by Fleur Hitchcock

Netgalley

cover50352-medium

Between by Megan Whitmer
Thank you @ Spencer Hill Press

What treasures have you added? Read any of these?

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cover35671-mediumHow did I get the book?  Netgalley, thank you Orbit

Genre: Horror

Synopsis:
NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

200words (or less) review: I ended up reading the whole book in one day, staying up much too late to finish it. Initially I did wonder if the fact that it was quite a big book would make the story drag but it never happened.

M.R. Carey convinced me early on that Melanie is a little girl, not a specimen or monster. She is a very likable character a huge part of why this book is so good. I thought that the dilemma Melanie’s existence and her awareness of herself brings to the group dynamics were fascinating to read.

I’ve read quite a few zombie stories in the last few years and The Hungries will stay with me. At the beginning of the book they didn’t make as much of an impact as at the end, I think it’s because I pictured everything better once Melanie and the others reached London. The Hungry that’s still walking despite stuff growing – that one freaked me out.

The Girl with All the Gifts had my attention from the beginning; it’s a thrilling and compelling read. I was impressed with the ending and look forward to seeing what other novels M.R. Carey will write.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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17155793How did I get the book?
Received signed ARC @ BEA

Genre: Fairytale Retelling

Previously Reviewed:
Enchanted & Hero

Synopsis: In her third book about the delightful Woodcutter sisters, Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves “The Wild Swans,” “The Goose Girl,” and a few other fine-feathered fairy tales into a magical, romantic companion novel to Enchanted and Hero.

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

A slightly different review: Can this be my review: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥!!!
No? Ok I’ll use actual words.

I think Alethea Kontis has magic herself. Dearest is probably the closest I have ever come to the perfect fairytale book. It’s like it was written as my made to order dream story. Which is surprising because while I was sure I would enjoy it I didn’t expect Friday Woodcutter’s story to be the one I’d love so so so much.

You know how you have songs you listen to on repeat? Movies you watch over and over? Dearest is the book that I’ll have to replace because I’m wearing the pages out. I’ve re-read the best parts twice already and I only just finished the book.

So what is it about this book? Well from the previous books you already know I love Alethea Kontis’s writing, her characters and the interesting new spins she has on classic tales. There is humour (you will laugh) and then a reality check – it’s all fantastical with talking animals and cursed princes but you still have to do laundry, meet the potential father-in-law and deal with insect cravings even when you stopped being a frog over a year ago. That is why these books are so brilliant. You have the magic but you also have a reminder that it’s not all rainbows and sparkles, or feathers as the case may be.

Ever so often a book comes along that let’s my little romantic-self loose (despite my best efforts to keep her locked up). I was very invested in Tristan and Friday’s relationship. There were sighs and swoons and cheers… yep I admit it.

I have loved every book from the Woodcutter Sisters Series, though I think Dearest might be my favourite. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the next adventure in Arilland.

Recommend it?

Sunshine Star

Expected publication:
February 3rd 2015 by HMH Books

*Alethea Kontis will be stopping by for an interview on the 22 July 2014*

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17155787How did I get the book?
I bought it & received a signed copy @ BEA

Genre: Fairytale

Previously Reviewed: Enchanted

Synopsis: Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?” As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

200words (or less) review: I think if I had to pick a favourite Woodcutter sister then Saturday would be her. Unlike her fey-blessed sisters she doesn’t have any magic, what Saturday does have is a destiny and a sword.

Saturday is headstrong and desperate to prove her worth, so when she breaks the world and brings the ocean, Saturday has to make it right. I thought there was a lot of character growth for Saturday in this story. What I loved about her remains but she became so much more.

As with Enchanted you have an abundance of wonderful characters, humour and magic to keep you entertaining from start to finish. Because Saturday is trapped in the mountain the story is more focused on her and Peregrine. The relationship between them is brilliant; I liked the banter so much. There were plenty of moments that had me laughing.

Another highlight is Betwixt, who I won’t say any more about because I think you need to read this book.

Hero is everything you could want in a fairy-tale adventure.

Recommend it?

Sunshine Star

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, so little I included web-series because I couldn’t think up 10 TV shows I regularly watch. Before Luna’s Little Library I was quite an avid TV & Movie addict, not to mention the massive Anime collection I accumulated but now I spend so much time reading I rarely get the chance.

Ever so often I treat myself to catch-up weekends. Just me, the remote and snack food. So what do I watch?

Sherlock

Don’t think I need to explain this one. “Did you miss me?” YES!

Dr Who

David Tennant will probably always be ‘my’ Doctor but I am interested to what Peter Capaldi makes of the role. The last couple of seasons have been a bit of a miss for me, some episodes were brilliant and others very much meh. I don’t like the split in the middle of the season the BBC started. :(

The Big Bang Theory

My friend recommended this to me a while back, the show was already on Season 3 so I had some catching up to do but have not looked back. :)

Supernatural

If I’m honest it should have ended after Season 5. The writers finished the story arc, they had a good ending but… we’re now on Season 9. Part of me really doesn’t care that this show just keeps going because I love the characters and the writers do take make fun of themselves – The French Mistake anyone?

Death In Paradise

A strait-laced British inspector is transferred to St. Marie Island’s police department. Unfortunately, he hates the sun, sea, and sand. In later series, an accident-prone officer heads the Caribbean investigative team.

Quintessentially English, even with the sunshine and sandy beaches. I do miss Ben Miller, there I’ve said it. To be fair Kris Marshall did start winning me over halfway through the last Season but still…

Criminal Minds

The cases of the BAU an elite group of profilers that analyze the nation’s most dangerous criminal minds in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.

2 Broke Girls

Web Series

Lizzie Bennet Diaries was the first web series I watched and since then I’ve tried a few more, so far Emma Approved and The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy are my favourites.

 

Do you have any shows you’d recommend I should start watching?

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